The Mouse Knows Best Podcast

Monday, April 30, 2018

Marvel Mondays: Avengers: Infinity War (Spoilers Included)

Over the course of the past few months, myself and you, the readers, have embarked on a journey through 18 movies in preparation for the "be all, end all": Avengers: Infinity War. Before you continue reading, I must warn that this post does include spoilers. The narrative for these posts have been a certain way; however, I'm changing it up and strictly giving my review of the film. As this is the last "Marvel Mondays" post, I do want to thank you all for joining me on this journey, as it has been a blast to write these posts covering something that is very dear to my heart. Without further adieu, I present my official review of Avengers: Infinity War. 

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Wow is all I can really say. For the past 10 years, Marvel has been making these movies that would culminate in a historic event. Now, am I saying that when I first watched Iron Man as a 12 year old that I expected to see an Infinity War like movie? No way, and I don't think anyone can say they did expect to see something like this, aside from maybe Kevin Feige and Stan Lee. Essentially, what has happened is Joe and Anthony Russo have taken the best of all of the movies in the MCU and combined it into one, then took a HUGE risk. But with a movie like this, don't you have to take a risks? Aren't they necessaary to keep the audience wanting more, and expecting the unexpected. Which, if we're being honest, Marvel has failed to do in the past. There's a super hero, then there's a villain, the villain gets something super powerful and it seems all hope is lost, then the hero musters up all strength, comes close to death, and defeats the villain. That storyline can cover the majority of the plots in the MCU, besides Infinity War. The Russo brothers changed the game, they threw out the old narrative, and welcomed a new narrative...a darker narrative. What happens if the hero doesn't save the day? What happens if they fail? What happens if they die? These are questions Marvel Studios didn't have to answer...until today. Avengers: Infinity War is a movie that is 10 years in the making, the hype feels like that, and yet, once again, Marvel exceeded the expectations.

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One of my worries coming into the movie was, with it being a team up of all films in the MCU, how will each character, particularly my favorites, get an adequate amount of screen time. Upon seeing the film twice (because after seeing it once your mind is just blown away), I can say that, while each character doesn't get an equal amount of talking time, they do make up for it with their action time, with the exception of Thor, Thanos, Vision, Iron Man, and Scarlet Witch. I would venture to say that those 5 have the most screen time, action time, and talking time. For anyone who didn't believe the Russo's when they said this was a Thanos movie, it is. Thanos is, far and away, the main character. However, he isn't built up to have the audience show him sympathy, similar to Vulture and Killmonger. No, Thanos is built up to strike fear in every single audience member viewing the movie. There's a point in the movie where we see a flashback of Thanos and Gamora, and from there, the Russo's build up Thanos' undying love for the little girl who hates him so much. It culminates when the Red Skull, the guardian of the Soul Stone, tells Thanos he must sacrifice what he loves most in order to receive the Soul Stone. Gamora thinks she has won, as she believes Thanos loves nothing, until she realizes the only thing Thanos loves is...her. It's a hard scene to watch, and one that will undoubtedly require some Kleenex. From there, we see a far more ruthless side of the Mad Titan. Somewhat arrogant, but able to easily back it up, culminating with his inevitable visit to Wakanda to retrieve the Mind Stone. Another scene that will need the Kleenex, as he wipes through everyone guarding Vision and ultimately completes the Gauntlet, taking the life of the android in the process. But even then, the Russo's made us believe there was hope as Thor stabbed Thanos through the chest with Stormbreaker. And in the snap of a finger, all hope was gone. The die hard fans knew what was coming. The casual movie fans didn't. You could tell the difference in both screenings I went to as audience members audibly started yelling, crying, sobbing, as dozens of characters disappeared, both on Wakanda and Titan. And the risk the Russo's took? They specifically chose which characters had to go, and which had to stay; something that made it even harder for audiences to watch as characters freaked out as they disappeared into ash.

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The one downfall of the movie is that it feels way too much like a "part 1" for it to supposedly not be. When Disney originally announced the film, they said the second movie (set to release May 3rd, 2019) would be titled Avengers: Infinity War Part 2; however, the title has since been dropped, with a new title not released yet because it will spoil Infinity War. That being said, this movie still feels like there is more to come, because the next Avengers movie is bringing more. This criticism doesn't mean I enjoyed the movie any less, because it is still easily number one on my list, but it does mean that Avengers 4 will most likely jump Infinity War to hold that number one spot. My only other gripe with the film, and really it doesn't even have to do with the film, is that the characters who disappeared have sequels coming that have already been announced. If Marvel and Disney wanted to really yank the audience's heartstrings, they wouldn't have announced things like a Spiderman Homecoming 2 or a Black Panther 2. Nonetheless, it still makes those "deaths" hard to watch, but imagine watching it not knowing if they were really dead or not? Now that would be rough to watch.

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The biggest question coming out of the movie, to me, was who is actually dead? The Russo's told us that the stakes would be higher here, that the deaths would be permanent, but like I've already said, we can rest assured that Spiderman, Black Panther, Star Lord, Mantis, Drax, and Groot will return as they have sequels on the table already. That being said, the only answer I have for my question is it comes down to pre snap and post snap. I firmly believe that the deaths that happened before Thanos snapped his fingers are permanent, meaning it's the end for Loki, Gamora, and Vision. The most likely of the three to return (because Marvel is known for this) would probably be Gamora because she's such a pivotal part of the Guardians. How could Gamora come back? I have no idea, but one would have to believe that Nebula and Star Lord would play big roles in bringing her back. As far as Vision goes, I could see a comeback happening, but not as Vision. Earlier in the movie, Shuri says she can realign his neurons and tissues to bring him to life without the Mind Stone. Meaning, I would bank on it that Shuri will be bringing Vision back, but maybe he stays in his colorless form instead of having color. That brings me to Loki. There's no way he comes back, which is sad to me, but it had to be done. He literally gets the life choked out of him by Thanos. If Marvel brings him back, I'd be pretty upset.

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Finally, what about the characters who disappeared? Well, according to the comics, when Thanos snaps, his victims go to another dimension called the Soul Realm. That's where I think the post snap people are at now, and really the only way to get them out is to defeat Thanos, acquire the Soul Stone, then make a sacrifice similar to what Thanos did with Gamora. This is where I think the OG Avengers come in. Dr Strange says the only way to defeat Thanos is to keep Tony Stark alive, meaning Tony probably figures out how to do it and ultimately wields the Gauntlet, then destroys the Stones (I mean, we've seen him create an element, he can do it). So with the help of the other Avengers, M'Baku, Okoye, Captain Marvel, and probably Ant Man, the new group will be able to defeat Thanos and seemingly win the day, with casualties of course. However, I also think Tony is the only one that has the guts to sacrifice someone he loves to get the Soul Stone, and this is how I think Steve Rogers will die. Tony will sacrifice Cap, and bring back everyone from the Soul Realm. That's my big prediction for Avengers 4. Of course, we have to wait around a year for it, but I'd be shocked if there were no implications or mentions of Infinity War during Ant Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel. 

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Avengers: Infinity War is an action packed, dramatic filled, tear jerker of a movie. And I could not love it any more. I think that this is a great film for the family, even those who don't necessarily like Marvel movies, because it literally has something for everyone. There's romance, comedy, sacrifice, drama, and tons of action. The stakes could not be higher in this movie, and as you'll see, nobody is safe. If you have any doubts regarding whether you'll like or not, don't worry because you will. I genuinely think it's impossible to not like this movie. From all angles, it checks every single box. There has only been one movie that I have given a 100/100 before (The Lion King), but Infinity War joins that prestigious list. It gets the 100 because it has all of the key elements of a movie in it, and executes everything it sets out to execute perfectly. I will say that my review looks at this as a part 1 of 2, so I'm a little different than other reviewers, but for me, it delivered in a magnificent way. Go see this movie, you won't regret it. Thanos is here.

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Marvel Mondays: Avengers: Infinity War Preview Plus MCU Review

Hello friends and welcome to a very special edition of "Marvel Mondays!" Throughout the past few weeks, I've been reviewing the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we countdown to the biggest superhero film in the history of film, Avengers: Infinity War. Today, I'm going to do a quick review of the MCU, talk about where our favorite characters are located at the beginning of the movie, talk about where the ever so important Infinity Stones are located, and close by giving my predictions for Infinity War including who I think will not be making it out of the film alive.

Let's start with the quick run down of the MCU:

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Iron Man: Where it all began. Here we're introduced to Tony Stark, a weapons dealer billionaire who, after a near death experience, becomes the hero we know as Iron Man. We're also introduced to Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D who tells us, and Tony, about the Avengers Initiative. My favorite memory? When Tony gets the alibi from Coulson and Rhoades, goes to the media, and halfway through his speech throws the card away and simply says "I am Iron Man." (my ranking: 5)

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The Incredible Hulk: Arguably the least important movie in the MCU. We're introduced to Bruce Banner, who after taking Gamma Radiation, becomes the Hulk. The only other bit of significance here is we're introduced to Thunderbolt Ross who plays a role later on in the MCU. My favorite memory? The Hulk and Abomination fight scene in Harlem. (my ranking: 17)

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Iron Man 2: Tony is back, and this time it's himself that's killing him. We're introduced more to Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D, including one of their agents, Natasha Romanoff, aka: Black Widow. This is also the first time we get War Machine on the big screen. My favorite memory? When Tony realizes that his father actually did love him and when his father says that Tony was his greatest accomplishment. (my ranking: 11)

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Thor: We're taking a trip to the cosmos as we're introduced to the God of Thunder, Thor and his mischievous brother, Loki, who plays as big of a role as Thor does in the future. This is also the first time we're introduced to one of the Infinity Stones: the Tesseract. We're also introduced to another important character: Hawkeye. My favorite memory? When Thor takes on the Destroyer with no weapon, proving he is worthy of Mjolnir and the title of God of Thunder. (my ranking: 9)

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Captain America: The First Avenger: Before we can have an Avengers movie, we need to collect the first avenger. Chris Evans stars as Steve Rogers turned Captain America in this origin story that takes us back to WW2, introducing us to Bucky Barnes, Agent Carter, and Howard Stark. When Evans wakes up, Fury is waiting with a mission for him. My favorite memory? When little Steve Rogers jumps on the dummy grenade while all the other troops run and hide, proving he's the right guy for the Super Soldier Serum. (my ranking: 16)

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The Avengers: The greatest superhero team up in the history of movies. We're not really introduced to much here, outside of Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk. Loki tries to take over the world, and the Avengers come together to stop him. Loki got his powers from his Scepter, which contains yet another Infinity Stone: the Mind Stone. But who sent Loki and that Scepter? This is our first glance at the biggest bad of them all, Thanos. My favorite memory? That iconic sweeping scene of the Avengers fighting the Chitauri in New York...and puny god. (my ranking: 1)

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Iron Man 3: As Tony deals with PTSD after going into space, another enemy is out to destroy his world: Aldrich Killian and the Mandarin. When everything, and everyone, he loves crumbles around him, Tony must rely on his brains to save the day again. My favorite memory? When Tony finally realizes he can be the hero even without the Iron Man suit. (my ranking: 8)

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Thor: The Dark World: Thor is back in Asgard and now the Infinity Stone craze is ramping up a notch...this film introduces us to the Aether: the Reality Stone in different form. It also features the death of Thor's mother, Frigga, and Loki somewhat saving the day, revealing he's not full villain, but more anti-hero to me. My favorite memory? When Loki saves the day, seemingly sacrificing his life for others, only to dodge death again. (my ranking: 15)

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier: The political thriller brings back Cap, Black Widow, and Nick Fury as S.H.I.E.L.D crumbles around them. With HYDRA running rampant, Cap tries to save the day, until his old friend Bucky Barnes arrives to wreak havoc upon everything, and everyone, as the Winter Soldier. We're also introduced to Sam Wilson, who later on in the film becomes the Falcon. My favorite memory? When Cap takes on a whole HYDRA unit in a teeny tiny elevator..."before we begin, does anyone want to get out?" (my ranking: 10)

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Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 1: The funnier version of the Avengers, James Gunn gives us an action packed, humor filled, heck of a movie. Introducing the likes of Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, Gamora, Nebula, and everyone's favorite tree, Groot, Guardians is a thrill from start to finish. We also get a lot more of Thanos (for the first time as Josh Brolin), and we're introduced to yet another Infinity Stone: the Power Stone. My favorite memory? WE. ARE. GROOT. (my ranking: 13)

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Avengers: Age of Ultron: When Tony and Bruce try and build an Artificial Intelligence system, something goes wrong and the system, Ultron, wants to wipe out the Avengers. The only way to stop the vibranium-clad villain, and his two enhanced helpers, Quick Silver and Scarlet Witch, is to come together and hope for the best. Until Thor creates the Vision, who was formally JARVIS, using none other than the Mind Stone to bring him to life. With the help of Vision, and the twins realizing they were on the wrong side, the new Avengers are able to take down Ultron. More importantly though, we finally see Thanos get out of his chair, put on the Infinity Gauntlet, and prepare to do it himself. My favorite memory? Seeing another iconic sweeping scene, this time including Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Vision. all I've got. (my ranking: 6)

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Ant Man: We're introduced to Scott Lang, a thief who, thanks to Hank Pym, becomes the Ant Man and must save the Ant Man technology from Darren Cross, who plans to sell it to HYDRA. my favorite scene? Baskin Robbins don't play games bro. Or when we shrink to ant size and rob the new Avengers HQ. (my ranking: 14)

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Captain America: Civil War: War among friends. When a mission goes wrong and civilians are injured, Thunderbolt Ross returns with the Sokovia Accords for the Avengers to sign. An agreement that would make the Avengers answer to governments and only be used when necessary, failure to sign makes you a fugitive. After Bucky Barnes gets framed for a bombing he didn't commit, that killed the Black Panther's father, the Black Panther becomes involved. When Cap, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Bucky, Ant Man, and Hawkeye refuse to sign, they become wanted fugitives and the government sends none other than the Avengers who did sign to get them. This leads to the biggest fight scene to date pitting Iron Man, War Machine, Vision, Black Widow, Black Panther, and the arrival of Spiderman, against Team Captain America. Later on in the movie, Tony finds out that Bucky was the one who killed Tony's parents and that Cap knew the whole time, the war reignites ending with Bucky losing an arm, Cap almost getting killed and dropping his role as Captain America, and Iron Man having a severely damaged black eye and messed up suit. My favorite memory? The two best fight scenes in MCU history: the airport fight and the Iron Man against Cap and Bucky fight (that Iron Man totally won.) (my ranking: 2)

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Dr Strange: Introducing us to the magical side of the MCU, Dr Strange gives us characters like Wong, Karl Mordo, Christine Palmer, and Stephen Strange himself. More importantly though, it introduces us to another Infinity Stone: the Time Stone. My favorite memory? When Strange bargains with Dormamu. (my ranking: 18)

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Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2: The guardians are back and this time are joined by Baby Groot for their fun filled mission as they encounter Star-Lord's dad, Ego, who in turn becomes the villain. Joining the guardians and becoming one is Mantis, who has a special connection with Drax, along with the Ravagers who join the fight as well. My favorite memory? When Star Lord realizes what Ego did and opens fire on him, or "I'm Mary Poppins, y'all!" (my ranking: 12)

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Spiderman: Homecoming: After he made his MCU debut in Civil War, everyone knew there'd be a standalone Spiderman movie. This one just build our love for Tom Holland's Spiderman and introduces characters like Ned, Vulture, and gives us some more of that great mentoring between Tony and Peter Parker. My favorite memory? That whole driving to Homecoming scene with Peter and the Vulture. (my ranking: 3)

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Thor: Ragnarok: While the Avengers are fighting each other on Earth, Thor is out looking for more Infinity Stones, until his evil sister Hela returns to wreak havoc on Asgard. When she sends Thor to Sakaar, he's greeted by the Grandmaster, Valkyrie, Loki and the Grandmaster's championed fighter: the Hulk. When Thor, Hulk, Loki, and Valkyrie go back to Asgard, they realize Ragnarok is the only way they can live. They head to space with other Asgardians, only to have Thanos' giant ship waiting on them. My favorite scene? "He's a friend from work!" (my ranking: 7)

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Black Panther: After his amazing debut in Civil War, T'Challa returned to the screen in what many people consider the best origin story of all time. Introducing us to pivotal players like Shuri, Okoye, Nakia, and M'Baku, and showing us the story of T'Challa's reign as King of Wakanda, Black Panther isn't essential to Infinity War yet but that could very well change come Thursday night. My favorite scene? When T'Challa emerges from the fallen aircraft arms open wide. (my ranking: 4)

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Now, let's talk about where our favorite characters are at the beginning of Infinity War.

Tony Stark/Iron Man: My guess is he's probably in upstate New York at the Avengers HQ shown in Age of Ultron and Civil War. You can also bet he's probably with Pepper Potts, as Gwyneth Paltrow is in this movie, and probably not too far from Spiderman and War Machine either.

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Steve Rogers/Captain America/Nomad: For starters, Cap isn't Cap anymore, he's Nomad. He's also in hiding as he's a fugitive. Where's he hiding? My guess is as good as yours, but wherever he is, I can pretty much guarantee that Black Widow and Falcon are with him, and from reading into some things, it can be assumed they're doing their own missions.

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Thor: The God of Thunder was last seen with his little brother, Loki, looking at Thanos' looming ship in space. And I'm sure this where we will pick up with Thor, Loki, Valkyrie, Hulk, Heimdall, and Korg all coming face to face with Thanos first.

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Guardians of the Galaxy: They're off in space somewhere, we know that. We also know that at some point Thor washes up on their ship, the Milano. That's about all we know.

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Vision: Vision and his Mind Stone are supposedly off in Switzerland with his new found love interest, Scarlet Witch. Also, watch the trailer, you can see Vision has taken off the purple android version and put on human skin.

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Wakandans: I put T'Challa, Okoye, Nakia, Shuri, and M'Baku under this title because well, they're all Wakandans, and they're all probably in Wakanda as well, where the entire 3rd act takes place. Joining the Wakandans in Wakanda is Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier/The White Wolf who was left in Wakanda to get worked on by Shuri. He's better now, and is emerging as the White Wolf, not the Winter Soldier.

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Now, let's talk about where these pesky stones are...

Space Stone: It was hidden in Asgard; however, as the city of Asgard was burning, Loki was able to grab the Tesseract without being seen. All in all, it's safe to assume that the Space Stone is with Loki on board the ship, and it could be what draws Thanos to their ship.

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Mind Stone: The Mind Stone is what gave Vision life, therefore it's still embedded in the forehead of the android. Vision is supposedly in Switzerland with lover Scarlet Witch, and from the trailers, it looks like Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight will be giving them a visit to retrieve that stone.

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Reality Stone: In the form of the Aether, the Reality Stone was given from the Asgardians to Tivan the Collector at the end of Thor: The Dark World. 

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Time Stone: The Time Stone is wrapped around the neck of Dr Strange, embedded in the Eye of Agamotto. Strange is supposedly at the Sanctum Santorum in New York, but who knows?

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Power Stone: The Power Stone was given to the Nova Corps on the planet Xandar, where it is suppsoedly kept in safe keeping. From both trailers, it appears that Thanos already will have the Power Stone when the action kicks up in Infinity War.

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Soul Stone: Nobody knows where the Soul Stone is. There's plenty of speculation and theories surrounding it, from it's location being with Heimdall to Tony Stark to Wakanda. My personal belief is the Soul Stone was located in the meteor that landed on Wakanda and gave them the Vibranium, but what do I know?

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So that leaves us with the resounding question of what do I think will happen in Infinity War. So to be completely honest with you all, I have zero idea. Really, the only thing I can put my money on is that characters we love will most likely meet their end by the time the movie is all said and done. That being said, I do have some predictions that I think could happen, and wouldn't be upset if they did happen. Starting with where I think the movie will begin, Loki, Thor, Hulk, Heimdall, Valkyrie, Korg, and the other Asgardians on the ship. I think this is where Loki will meet his end, but I'd like nothing more than for Loki to make the full turn and save his brother and as many lives as he can before he dies. I'm also interested to see what they do with Valkyrie, being that she was just introduced to the MCU, are they really going to kill her off this quickly? I'd also love to know how Hulk gets out of the situation alive (which we know he does). Moving on, I think we'll see just how powerful Thanos really is throughout the film, but this first scene will be the first taste we get of it. I can't wait to see how the Guardians are introduced here and how Iron Man, Spiderman, Strange, and possibly Wong get up to space with them. Aside from that, I think Cap will debut as Nomad, but it wouldn't surprise me to see him switch back to his role of Captain America by the time the movie is wrapping up or in Avengers 4. Other than that, I'm expecting tons of fighting. Whether it be Cap, Black Widow, and Falcon against Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive or Iron Man, Spider Man, Dr Strange, Star Lord, and Drax against Thanos, I think this will be far and away the most action packed film of the MCU. That just leaves one question to ask, "who do I think is going to die?" An incredibly hard question as Marvel has done an AMAZING job keeping what happens under wraps. If I had to guess though, I would say Drax, Mantis, War Machine, Wong, Loki, Okoye, and Pepper Potts are all goners. I'd also bet money that something tragic happens to Hawkeye, to make him change into Ronin in Avengers 4. That being said, I think the tragedy is going to be his family that we were introduced to in Age of Ultron is going to be attacked by Thanos' children or Outriders and ultimately die. I'd also be willing to bet that one of the major Avengers (Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk, Iron Man, and Hawkeye) end up dying as well, as much as I hate to say it, I can see this being the spot where Iron Man meet his end in a heroically tragic death that will for sure rip my heart out.

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So there you have it. The past 10 years, and for us, couple months, have been leading to this. I'd like to close this blog up by thanking Marvel for the past 10 years. As a comic book, and superhero fan, I never thought I would see the day where my favorite heroes would be teaming up together with one collective goal, and Marvel has done that exact thing. Both Kevin Feige and Stan Lee deserve tons of credit for making this whole thing happen, but I think there are others who deserve some credit as well. Joss Whedon for giving us the first Avengers movie and showing us that we can do superhero team up movies. James Gunn and Taika Waititi for bringing some amazing comedy into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and showing us that even the God of Thunder can be hilarious. Jon Favreau for kicking this whole thing off with Iron Man. Joe and Anthony Russo for taking the daunting challenge of directing arguably the biggest, and most important, movies in this whole Cinematic Universe. And finally, the actors and actresses who bring our favorite heroes to life, without them, none of this would happening. Now, go out and get your tickets for Infinity War, the time has come.

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Kevin Scott is a contributing writer for The Mouse Knows Best Podcast. He is self proclaimed Disney addict and oftentimes annoys his family with how much he talks Disney. He enjoys walking around all Disney Parks and taking as many pictures as he can in one day. When he isn't at Walt Disney World, he is working to get back or re-watching Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars movie. His spirit animal is a mix between Simba and Kylo Ren with a dash of Tony Stark. You can find him on Twitter @doubleoh_kevin and on Instagram @waltdisneyduo.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Marvel Mondays: Spider Man: Homecoming and Black Panther

Hello again, friends, and let me be the first to officially welcome you to INFINITY WAR WEEK!! Before we begin, I just want to let you know of some of the festivities this week! As has been the case for the past couple of weeks, you can tune in to ABC's Good Morning America to catch exclusive interviews with the cast and even some sneak peeks. You can also tune in to Jimmy Kimmel Live all week to see actors including Robert Downey Jr, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Winston Duke, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, and many more. And finally, this evening at 8pm, the Marvel Entertainment handle on Twitter (@Marvel) is live streaming the red carpet celebration of the movie! The excitement is so real! However, before we get to Infinity War, we have two more movies to cover, two of the newest movies, two of my top 5 movies, Spiderman: Homecoming and Black Panther!
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Once again, here's the schedule for this week's posts as it'll be a busy one:

April 26th- Infinity War Preview, Predictions, and MCU Review
April 30th- Avengers: Infinity War

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Spiderman: Homecoming is the 16th film in the MCU, falls under the Phase 3 umbrella, and was arguably the one MCU movie nobody saw coming. The film picks up during the events of Civil War, where we first saw our friendly neighborhood Spiderman jump into action in the MCU. From there, we are taken on this incredible adventure that pits a young Spidey against his own self doubt and the villainous Vulture. Tom Holland returned to play a younger version of the character we all love so very dearly, and joining him would be Robert Downey Jr, Jon Favreau, and making her triumphant return, Gwyneth Paltrow. Joining the cast would be the likes of Donald Glover (Aaron Davis/Prowler), Zendaya (Michelle), Marisa Tomei (Aunt May), Jacob Batalon (Ned), Laura Harrier (Liz), and Michael Keaton (Adrian Toomes/Vulture). While many people were excited to see Spidey in Civil War, I'd say everyone was excited for a Spiderman stand alone MCU movie as the film brought in over $800 million during it's box office run!

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The development for this movie is in one word: confusing. So, we all know about the original Spiderman films directed by Sam Raimi and staring Tobey Maquire. In that deal, Sony had all of the rights to basically every Spiderman character and villain. They took some time off, and rebooted with Andrew Garfield and The Amazing Spiderman 1 and 2. However, those movies weren't received very well and the series ended up not continuing. It wasn't until 2015 that it was leaked that Marvel and Sony were trying to complete a deal that would send the hero back to his home in the MCU. Then, Spidey made his dramatic debut in Civil War. The deal was announced to be strictly for Spiderman and some of his supporting characters, not including Mary Jane or the Green Goblin or this moment. The deal is consistently changing, and with Disney's new FOX acquisition, nobody really knows what is going to happen with Spiderman and the tons of characters included in his universe. The kicker about this whole deal, though, is that Sony still gets the rights too marketing and distribution, meaning that, yes, Spiderman is in the MCU, but Marvel doesn't necessarily make a lot of money off of his movies. Which is fine, being as they release movies that eclipse the $1 billion mark pretty regularly, or more as we'll see later on. Director Jon Watts said that they tried to steer clear of anything that was mentioned in the earlier Spiderman and Amazing Spiderman film series, excluding characters like Peter Parker, Aunt May, Flash Thompson, and obviously Spiderman. However, he also said that material from earlier films such as The Daily Bugle would appear in later Spiderman films. On the MCU docket for Phase 4 is a sequel to Homecoming; however, we don't know who will appear or what the story will be yet, we actually don't even have a title yet.
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With a character as well known as Spiderman, there's going to be plenty of easter eggs, so let's dive into some of my favorite ones. From the get go, you're hit with nostalgia as, instead of the typical Marvel theme song, the Spiderman theme song plays while the Marvel logo is shown at the beginning of the movie. There's also that whole scene at the beginning of the movie, of Peter filming himself during the events of Civil War, along with multiple appearances by Captain America himself. Adrain Toomes' business is built on cleaning up carnage left over from the Chitauri attack in The Avengers and that's how they power their weapons as well. In Peter's chemistry class, you can see pictures of famous scientists, and the last picture is none other than Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner; I, for one, can't wait to see that meet up in Infinity War. And how about that bank robbery scene with the robbers wearing Avengers masks? That's probably one of my favorite Tom Holland/Spiderman scenes of all time. Another nice scene is when Happy is packing up the Avengers Tower to move to upstate, he lists off all the new stuff including Thor's magic belt and Cap's new shield. Now, this probably isn't the same shield seen in Infinity War, but it's still a cool reference nonetheless. 

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Iron Spider suit from Infinity War courtesy of

There's two post credits scenes in Homecoming. The first brings us back to Adrian Toomes as another inmate in the jail says he wants to kill Spiderman and that Toomes knows who Spiderman is in real life. Toomes basically tells the guy if he knew who Spiderman really was, he'd be dead by now, essentially saving Peter's life. This is just another reason Vulture is a great villain because not only can we sympathize with him, but he never wants to take the easy way out, or he's actually somewhat loyal. I say that because I think there's two possible reasons Toomes didn't tell the guy Spiderman's actual identity. One is because Spiderman just saved Toomes' life and Toomes felt like he owed Peter one. The other is because Toomes wants to be the one who kills Spiderman, he doesn't want to hear that Spiderman died while he was in jail, and he'll do everything he can to make sure he gets another shot at Spidey. The other post credit scene is Captain America just trolling the audience for waiting for the end of the credits for nothing important.

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All in all, I love Homecoming so much. It ranks as my number 3 movie in the MCU for a couple of reasons but mainly because I love love love Spiderman. The film is also, what I think, the perfect introduction story. If anyone is watching a Spiderman movie and doesn't know that Peter's uncle Ben is tragically killed after him and Peter get into a yelling argument, then they probably don't need to be watching a Spiderman movie in the first place. I love how this movie completely skipped that part, and transitioned into life after uncle Ben. I also love the casting of Tom Holland so much, like it screams Peter Parker to me and even how Holland acts outside of the movie is just so Peter Parker it's great. But one of the best parts of the movie is the introduction of Ned. I love the "guy in the chair" idea that he is to Spidey and I love how great of character he turns out to be. This is one of the newest entries to the MCU, but it's also easily one of the best in my opinion.

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Now, let's move on to the newest entry to the MCU: Black Panther

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Black Panther is a cultural phenomenon, the biggest superhero movie ever, and the 18th movie in the MCU, falling under the Phase 3 umbrella. The film tells the story of T'Challa, King of Wakanda and the Black Panther, and the responsibility that comes with being King and life after his father's tragic death. T'Challa must prove he's worthy of the title of King, and with the help of his friends and family, must save Wakanda from destruction. Directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther is literally a cultural phenomenon and has been ruling the box office for nearly 4 months, raking in the biggest box office of any superhero movie of all time at a current total of $1.3 billion. Clearly people were excited for Black Panther after T'Challa made his debut in Civil War. The movie is action packed, and very dramatic as it shows the pressure that comes with being King.

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A Black Panther movie has been one that has been talked for over 20 years. In 1992, Wesley Snipes had the idea of making and starring in a Black Panther to portray the beauty of Africa and the African culture, gaining enough ground that Stan Lee had joined him in the quest. Snipes and Lee entered talks with Columbia Pictures in 1993; however, by 1997 production had halted on the movie. In 2000, Artisan Entertainment announced they would be financing and producing a film based on the Black Panther, to which Snipes, who had already been Blade in two Blade films, jumped at the opportunity to play the character. However, with Snipes already having a role with Marvel, many felt like it would be overkill to have him cast again. Through the years, production on the Black Panther movie went from Artisan Entertainment to Paramount Studios back to Marvel, when in 2010, Marvel CEO Kevin Feige said that there was a Black Panther movie on the slate for the current MCU. With nods to Wakanda and Black Panther in movies as early as Iron Man 2, you could say Feige was itching to formally introduce Black Panther to the MCU. Well, that introduction came in the 2016 Civil War and Feige announced the film Black Panther would release in early 2018. Feige was then tasked to find a director and it came down to two candidates: Ryan Coogler and Ava DuVernay. DuVernay chose to direct A Wrinkle in Time and so Feige offered the job to Coogler, who accepted. With Chadwick Boseman reprising his role as T'Challa from Civil War, Coogler didn't have much casting to come up. Coming with Coogler was Michael B Jordan in an undisclosed role, that would later be revealed to be the villain Killmonger, and Lupita N'yongo, who would T'Challa's love interest, Nakia. Also joining the cast would be Letitia Wright (Shuri), Angela Bassett (Ramonda), Forest Whitaker (Zuri), Andy Serkis agreed to reprise his role as Ulysses Klaue, Martin Freeman agreed to reprise his role as Agent Ross, Danai Gurira (Okoye), Sterling K Brown (N'Jobu), and Winston Duke (M'Baku). Of all the cast, M'Baku was my show stealer. I thought he was amazing and loved his comedic relief and character arc as well.

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Now, let's talk easter eggs! When Ross is brought to Shuri, she tells T'Challa "great, another white boy to fix." She's talking about when T'Challa brought her Bucky Barnes after Civil War. There's also Klaue's new hand that he wouldn't have to worry about had it not been for Ultron in Age of Ultron. That covers the MCU easter eggs and I'd like to think the reason there are so little nods to other movies is because Black Panther is somewhat of a standalone movie, meaning that it really doesn't go with a lot going on in the MCU outside of location and characters. Essentially, the storyline isn't pivotal to anything else in the MCU, at the moment at least...

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There's two post credits scene in Black Panther. The first is really a followup to the whole story of introducing Wakanda to the world, as T'Challa, Okoye, Nakia, and Shuri are all at a UN meeting with T'Challa announcing he will open Wakanda to all the world (this is where Okoye's line in one of the new tv spots for Infinity War.) The other post credit scene is what is really important here. In Civil War, Captain America takes Bucky to Wakanda to see if T'Challa and the Wakandans can fix what's wrong with hid brain. Well, it looks like it worked. Shuri is seen overlooking a lake, and exiting a hut by the lake is none other than Sergeant Bucky Barnes himself, or as the kids are calling him, the White Wolf. According to the Russo brothers, in Infinity War, Bucky will be known as the White Wolf, not the Winter Soldier, which is pretty impactful because in the comics, the White Wolf is an agent of Wakanda that protects the city when T'Challa isn't there.

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I do love Black Panther as well, as it comes in at number 5 on my MCU list. I think it has good humor and action, but is probably one of the strongest storylines in the MCU. The origin of the Black Panther is a great story, but what I love most about the movie is the dramatic elements throughout the film, but especially when Killmonger is on the screen. Had it not been for Loki and his amazing character arc and acting by Hiddleston, Killmonger would easily be the greatest villain in the MCU. He makes you feel for him, to the point that when he dies, I actually shed a couple of tears. It's the story of a boy who's father was killed when he was a child, then he had to fend for himself, and when he finally realizes who he really is, he wants to capitalize and finally live a decent life. I love that so much about him, and Michael B Jordan was phenomenal in the role.

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Kevin Scott is a contributing writer for The Mouse Knows Best Podcast. He is self proclaimed Disney addict and oftentimes annoys his family with how much he talks Disney. He enjoys walking around all Disney Parks and taking as many pictures as he can in one day. When he isn't at Walt Disney World, he is working to get back or re-watching Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars movie. His spirit animal is a mix between Simba and Kylo Ren with a dash of Tony Stark. You can find him on Twitter @doubleoh_kevin and on Instagram @waltdisneyduo.